Herbert Smith Freehills

Spotlight

Herbert Smith Freehills – Elevate your ambition

We’re a leading, full-service, global law firm working on some of the world’s biggest cases and deals at the forefront of the world’s most exciting sectors. With an award-winning depth of expertise across a wide variety of sectors, geographies and legal specialisms, you don’t just watch from the side lines here, you hit the ground running, make a difference and tackle the important issues.

By combining perspectives and potential from diverse backgrounds, we offer our clients pioneering solutions. With our innovative and inclusive culture, we’re building a reputation for excellence across legal disciplines, business sectors and continents. Our progressive approach allows us to continually break new ground; whether it’s a complex international dispute or a billion-pound, cross-border deal. Every day, there’ll be new situations, new experiences and new skills to learn and apply.

Our work is incredibly varied. We provide top-quality tailored legal advice to major corporations, governments and financial institutions as well as various commercial organisations. We operate at the forefront of many exciting sectors and no other firm has more Chambers rankings. Our dispute resolution practice is widely recognised as number one globally and this includes both our leading international arbitration practice and award-winning in-house advocacy unit. We can therefore offer a complete litigation service and a realistic alternative career to the Bar. We also specialise in finance, competition, regulation and trade, intellectual property, real estate and more. As a truly global law firm, we do this by attracting the brightest minds across the world to collaborate on work which has an international impact.

At Herbert Smith Freehills, we recognise and appreciate all the differences that make each of us unique. Our culture of inclusion that fosters these differences is fundamental to our business and the diverse clients and communities we work with. Embracing a diversity of backgrounds and views means we attract and retain the best talent and continue to do the pioneering work that offers our clients the most considered and effective advice.

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Statistics and facts

Firm type
  • International
  • City
Practice Areas
  • Energy
  • Agribusiness
  • Banks & Other Finacncial Institutions
  • Consumer
  • Financial Buyers
  • Government & Public Sector
  • Infrastructure
  • Leisure & Sport
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing & Industrials
  • Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare
  • Real Estate
  • Technology, Media & Telecommunications
  • Professional Support & Business Services
Head quartersLondon
Number of Offices25
Location of Major UK Offices
  • London
  • Belfast
Location of Major International Offices
  • United States
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Middle East
  • Asia
  • Australia
No of Partners161 in the UK , 485 globally
No of Lawyers517
Average Trainee Salary£50,000
NQ Salary£120,000 base salary

Training Contracts

2022/23 HSF Trainee Associate Programme – Job Listing

Salary: Starting Salary £50k, upon qualification up to £120k (including salary and bonus)

Entry criteria: Must complete a HSF vacation scheme

Location: London

 

Elevate your Ambition

We want our Trainee Associates to develop into the Herbert Smith Freehills Partners of the future and we aim to retain as many of our Trainee Associates as possible on qualification. Our Trainee Associate Programme offers four six-month seats. We are one of the few firms who allow you to select your seat preferences ahead of each rotation, allowing you to tailor your Trainee Associate Programme as your interests develop.

We only recruit our future trainees from our Vacation Schemes where students are assessed by their supervisors and also given an assessed piece of work by their supervisors in each of the two seats. We look at a combination of those things when making offers on our Trainee Associate Programme.

 

Who are Herbert Smith Freehills?

Join us and you’ll be involved in high-profile cases, high-impact deals and prestigious client relationships – making a difference and tackling the big issues. You’ll get involved in new situations and experiences and discover new skills to learn and apply.

We are a leading, full-service, global law firm working on some of the world’s biggest cases and deals at the forefront of the world’s most exciting sectors. With an award-winning depth of expertise across a wide variety of sectors, geographies and legal specialisms, we are the place to elevate your ambition.

 

What are the benefits?

  • Salary: Starting salary £50k, upon qualification up to £120k (including salary and bonus)
  • 25 days’ annual leave
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Medical, dental, travel and gadget insurance
  • Subsidised gym membership
  • Pension contributions from Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Interest-free season ticket loan
  • Corporate discounts

Why join?

DIVERSE

As well as ensuring we recruit from a range of backgrounds, we take a roughly equal split of law and non-law students. This diversity of experience and perspectives allows us to develop creative solutions to our clients’ problems.

CHALLENGING

To ensure our Trainee Associates are given the best opportunities to develop the skills they need to become a successful lawyer, we have created the Trainee Associate Programme. Through our Business Skills Academy, Trainee Associates will be equipped with the business knowledge, skills and mindset they need to work on the biggest matters and deals with our clients across the globe.

You’ll undertake over 128 hours of structured learning and development, from interactive workshops to Professional Skills Course training.

A partner will mentor you as you progress through your training contract, and in each seat you’ll share your office with either a Senior Associate or a Partner who’s committed to supporting your personal and professional development.

PROGRESSIVE

If you’re keen to develop client relationship skills and business growth strategies, you can join our entrepreneurial Trainee Business Development Committee (TBDC). The TBDC is a trainee-run initiative that empowers trainees to contribute to our business development strategies through networking with clients and building business development skills.

You’ll get the opportunity to submit seat preferences before every rotation, including before your first seat, enabling you to tailor your training contract to your specific interests. You can also discuss your preferences with our dedicated trainee HR team.

GLOBAL

Over 84% of our trainees go on either a client or an international secondment. There are also opportunities to qualify into one of our international offices.

 

What we look for

Personal leadership

Demonstrate an interest in client relationships and how you would go about building on these. You should also be able to demonstrate good active listening skills and persuasive skills to gain support for ideas.

Technical capability

As well as considered reasoning and a desire to learn, using initiative is a key skill for a trainee. Think about how you would seek out new opportunities in order to gain a deeper understanding of the role.

Intellectual capability

Academic excellence should be demonstrated through degree classification. Whilst a minimum of a 2:1 is preferred, we take mitigating circumstances into account. There is space on the application form to include these details which are taken into consideration throughout the application process.

 

Contributions to the team’s success

Communication skills are critical for trainees, think about examples where you have been able to bring about positive outcomes by communicating and collaborating with colleagues.

Working styles

Students can demonstrate this competency by giving examples of organisational skills and showing that they are able to cope well under pressure.

 

Motivation for a career in law at Herbert Smith Freehills

Think about why you have chosen to pursue a career in commercial law, and why Herbert Smith Freehills in particular.


How do I apply?

We only recruit our future Trainee Associates from our Vacation Schemes where students are assessed by their supervisors and also given an assessed piece of work by their supervisors in each of the two seats. We look at a combination of those things when making offers. These schemes have been specifically designed to build and test the unique combination of skills and potential required to succeed at Herbert Smith Freehills. It’s really important to us that you have the combination of skills and potential that we’re looking for: it will enable you to become a better lawyer, build stronger connections with our team and hit the ground running when you start your career here.

It’s a two-way process. The scheme gives you the chance to get to know us and see what life for you would be like at Herbert Smith Freehills before you make a decision about your career.

For those who are unable to attend a vacation scheme, please contact the graduate recruitment team at [email protected] to discuss your individual circumstances, which we will consider on a case-by-case basis.

Find out more here.

No of Trainees / Yr109
Average Retention Rates84%
Location
  • London
Degree class2:1, but we take mitigating circumstances into consideration
A levelsBBB
Sponsorship - LPCYes
Sponsorship - GDLYes
Assessment Process
  • Application Form
  • Case Study Interview
  • Scenario-Based Interview
  • Competency Interview
Vacation Scheme Requirement?
  • Yes (a requirement of TC application)
Number of Seats4

Current Opportunities

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Vacation Schemes

Elevate your ambition.

It’s never too early to take control of your career. Join us on the Herbert Smith Freehills vacation schemes and start today.

Explore our firm for yourself, build your connections and find your vocation, with hands-on training from leading lawyers. You won’t be watching from the side lines here. You’ll hit the ground running, taking on real work for real clients. You’ll work directly with colleagues who are experts in their fields, and happy to share what they know. You’ll get to choose your two seats so your experience is tailored to you. And you’ll have a trainee buddy at every step to support you.

Who are Herbert Smith Freehills?

We’re a leading, full-service, global law firm working on some of the world’s biggest cases and deals at the forefront of the world’s most exciting sectors. With an award-winning depth of expertise across a wide variety of sectors, geographies and legal specialisms, you don’t just watch from the side lines here, you hit the ground running, make a difference and tackle the important issues.

By combining perspectives and potential from diverse backgrounds, we offer our clients pioneering solutions. With our innovative and inclusive culture, we’re building a reputation for excellence across legal disciplines, business sectors and continents. Our progressive approach allows us to continually break new ground; whether it’s a complex international dispute or a billion-pound, cross-border deal. You’ll get involved in new situations and experiences and discover new skills to learn and apply.

What are the benefits?

  • Salary: £450 per week

What will I be doing?

Our vacation schemes immerse you in our work, networks and the international world of law. Key features:

  • You’ll sit with a partner or a senior associate, delivering real work for real clients.
  • You’ll attend workshops and presentations covering all of our practice areas. You’ll also spend time working on a pro bono research project.
  • You’ll be invited to various networking events with partners, associates and trainees.

What we look for

Personal leadership

You need to demonstrate an interest in client relationships and how you would go about building on these. You should also be able to show us good active listening skills and persuasive skills to gain support for ideas.

Technical capability

As well as considered reasoning and a desire to learn, using initiative is a key skill for a trainee. Think about how you would seek out new opportunities in order to gain a deeper understanding of the role.

Intellectual capability

Academic excellence should be demonstrated through degree classification. While a minimum of a 2:1 is preferred, we take mitigating circumstances into account. There’s space on the application form to include these details and they will be taken into consideration throughout the application process.

Contributions to the team’s success

Communication skills are critical for trainees, think about examples where you’ve been able to bring about positive outcomes by communicating and collaborating with colleagues.

Working styles

You can demonstrate your working style by giving examples of organisational skills and showing that you’re able to cope well under pressure.

Motivation for a career in law at the firm

Think about why you’ve chosen to pursue a career in commercial law, and why Herbert Smith Freehills in particular.

We only recruit our future trainees from our vacation schemes and students are assessed by their supervisors and given an assessed piece of work in each of the two seats. When making our decision, we look at a combination of those things. Our vacation schemes have been specifically designed to build and test the unique combination of skills and potential required to succeed at Herbert Smith Freehills. It’s really important to us that you have the combination of skills and potential that we’re looking for: it will enable you to become a better lawyer, build stronger connections with our team and hit the ground running when you start your career here.

It’s a two-way process. The scheme gives you the chance to get to know us and see what life at Herbert Smith Freehills would be like before you make a decision about your career.

For those who are unable to attend a vacation scheme, please get in touch with the graduate recruitment team at [email protected] to discuss your individual circumstances, which we will consider on a case-by-case basis.

Key dates

Winter

  • Scheme runs: 28 November – 9 December 2022
  • Apply between: 1 September – 30 September 2022
  • Assessment centres: October – November 2022 (open to finalists and graduates).
  • Click here to apply now.

Spring

  • Scheme runs: 11 – 21 April 2023
  • Apply between: 1 September – 2 December 2022
  • Assessment centres: January – March 2023 (open to penultimate-year students, finalists and graduates).
  • Click here to apply now.

Summer

  • Scheme runs: 12 – 30 June and 10 – 28 July 2023
  • Apply between: 1 September – 2 December 2022
  • Assessment centres: January – March 2023 (open to penultimate-year students, finalists and graduates)

Elevate your ambition. 

 

No of Vacation Schemes / yr100
Location
  • London
Degree classAcademic excellence should be demonstrated through degree classification. Whilst a minimum of a 2:1 is preferred, we take mitigating circumstances into account. There is space on the application form to include these details which are taken into consideration throughout the application process.
A levelsBBB
Training Contract Interview included?Yes
Assessment Process
  • Case Study Interview.
  • Scenario-Based Interview
  • Competency Interview

Current Opportunities

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Open Days

Elevate your ambition.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, CYBER AND TECHNOLOGY OPEN DAY

14 October 2022

Are you studying a science, technology, medicine, electronics, maths, computer science or cyber subject? Ever thought of a legal career?

We’d like to invite you to our Intellectual Property (IP), Cyber and Technology Open Day where we’ll introduce you to the many ways in which a technical background can be applied to a career in law.

The event will include an overview of IP law (the law protecting inventions, brands, technology, media and creative work) as well as the legal side of cyber security and other areas of technology. It will include case studies presented by our science and technology qualified lawyers, showing how their skills and interests are involved in the matters we handle: from interviewing experts in a scientific field, to supervising experiments, appreciating how the latest blockbuster drugs were invented and understanding the scientific and technical context in which this happened, to being able to communicate with technologically sophisticated clients and even prevent or limit cyber disasters.

We’ll also give you an insight into the innovations in technology happening in our firm. The aim of the day is to give you an idea of the types of interesting and exciting things you’d be working on if you decided to join our teams.

This opportunity is open to STEM, computer science and cyber students in any year, as well as graduates and those involved in technology-driven projects.

APPLICATIONS OPEN

1 September – 5 October 2022

FIND OUT MORE AND REGISTER HERE

 

MYPLUS STUDENTS CLUB

Our Ability Network works closely with MyPlus Consulting to shape our workplace adjustments and to ensure that everyone is supported in their role if they’re affected by a physical or mental disability. We hold events for students with a disability through MyPlus and Aspiring Solicitors, where we explain the importance of disclosing a disability in our application form and how you can use your disability to evidence your adaptability and resilience in the recruitment process. We also hold these events to explain the adjustments we can make to the assessment process to ensure everyone has equal access to our firm and to build confidence in talented students with a disability. This year, we made a commitment to the Valuable 500 to continue to prioritise global disability inclusion. We’ve also recently partnered with Aspiring Solicitors on a new mentoring scheme that’s focused on candidates with a disability. We recognise the wealth of talented disabled candidates and want to help them navigate our recruitment process and improve their understanding of the nature of our work.

Our MyPlus Students’ Club Open Day is for high-performing students with a disability or long-term health condition* who are interested in a career in commercial law. You’ll meet lawyers from across the firm who’ll give you an insight into what it’s like to work at HSF with a disability, the support we provide and the exciting work we do here.

MYPLUS STUDENTS’ CLUB OPEN DAY

18 October 2022

APPLICATIONS OPEN

1 September – 5 October 2022

FIND OUT MORE AND REGISTER HERE

*Disability includes but is not limited to conditions such as: visual and hearing impairments, mobility impairments, Asperger’s Syndrome, diabetes, epilepsy, dyslexia, dyspraxia, mental health conditions, speech impairments and major illnesses such as cancer and MS.

 

LGBT+ OPEN DAY

We have a longstanding and market-leading commitment to LGBT+ inclusion; we’re a Stonewall Top Global Employer and our Inclusion, Respecting Identity and Sexuality (IRIS) Network is involved in a range of advocacy initiatives in support of LGBT+ rights across the world. Our IRIS Network co-founded DiversCity, a cross-firm organisation set up to encourage members of the LGBT+ community to apply to City law firms and to build confidence among these students. Each year, we take part in this event to give students the chance to talk to representatives from some of the top firms about what it’s like to be out in the city. This year, we’re participating in the Aspiring Solicitors’ Pride event, hosting our own insight day for aspiring LGBT+ lawyers and partnering with myGwork on a range of campaigns aimed at LGBT+ professionals and graduates.

According to research, as many as 50% of LGBT+ employees don’t disclose their sexuality or gender identity in their first job – and we don’t think that’s right. Here at Herbert Smith Freehills, we have an inclusive, supportive culture fostered through our IRIS Network and Ally programme. Our IRIS Open Day is your opportunity to find out more about a career in law at the firm and discover how our inclusive culture will help you and support your career. You’ll hear about the firm, the work we do and our LGBT+ initiatives, as well as meet trainees and associates who are part of our IRIS Network. Click to apply.

This opportunity is open to all disciplines and students in any year, as well as graduates.

LGBT+ OPEN DAY

27 October 22

APPLICATIONS OPEN

1 September – 5 October 2022

FIND OUT MORE AND REGISTER HERE

 

DIGITAL OPEN DAY

8 November 2022

Our Digital Open Day is for students who want a deeper insight into the ground-breaking work we do as a firm to improve how we operate, widen the types of challenges we can solve and how we harness technology to open up new possibilities in our work.

This opportunity is open to all disciplines and students in any year, as well as graduates.

APPLICATIONS OPEN

1 September – 14 October 2022

FIND OUT MORE AND REGISTER HERE

 

DISPUTES OPEN DAY

24th November 2022

Do you want to know more about our global dispute resolution practice and what it’s like to be a disputes lawyer? If so, you can apply to join our Disputes Open Day at our London office.

This event includes an introduction to Herbert Smith Freehills’ dispute resolution practice, along with interactive workshops covering the types of disputes we assist our clients with, from commercial litigation to international arbitration.

This opportunity is open to all disciplines and students in any year, as well as graduates.

APPLICATIONS OPEN

1 September – 14 October 2022

FIND OUT MORE AND REGISTER HERE

Number of Open Days5
Location
  • London
Assessment Process
  • Application Form

Current Opportunities

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Diversity Opportunities

2022/23 ROGER LEYLAND MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

Applications open: 1 October 2022 – 31 January 2023

Roger Leyland was a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills until his death in October 1996 at the young age of 43. He was the first black partner at a leading City firm and chaired The College of Law’s ethnic minority subcommittee. Roger was deeply committed to supporting the development of young lawyers, including sitting as a governor on the Council of the College of Law.

The Roger Leyland Memorial Scholarship was developed by Rare Recruitment and Herbert Smith Freehills to provide financial support and work experience to exceptional black and minority ethnic students. Applicants should be in their first year of a three-year course or second year of a four-year course and must be a Rare candidate in order to apply. Benefits of being a Roger Leyland Memorial Scholar include:

  • £9,000 awarded over three years of study
  • A mentor at the firm
  • A guaranteed interview for the summer vacation scheme (conditional on achieving a 2:1 in your first-year exams)
  • Personal study sessions with Rare’s Melissa Andrewes, a former Head of Students at the University of Law
  • Invitations to exclusive firm events
  • Runners up may be considered for a place on the summer vacation scheme.

Applications open: 1 October 2022 – 31 January 2023

FIND OUT MORE HERE

Location
  • London
Assessment Process
  • Application Form

Current Opportunities

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Other Opportunities

Please see our other opportunities:

2022/23 FIRST YEAR WORKSHOP

Salary: N/A
Deadline: 31 January 2023
Locations: London

It’s never too early to take control of your career. Join us on one of the Herbert Smith Freehills first year workshops and start today.

We’re a leading, full-service, global law firm working on some of the world’s biggest cases and deals at the forefront of the world’s most exciting sectors. With an award-winning depth of expertise across a wide variety of sectors, geographies and legal specialisms, you don’t just watch from the side lines here, you hit the ground running and tackle important issues.

By combining perspectives and potential from diverse backgrounds, we offer our clients pioneering solutions. With our innovative and inclusive culture, we’re building a reputation for excellence across legal disciplines, business sectors and continents. Our progressive approach allows us to continually break new ground; whether it’s a complex international dispute or a billion-pound, cross-border deal. Every day, there’ll be new situations, new experiences and new skills to learn and apply.

Experiencing life at a law firm during your first year of study opens up a world of opportunities. You’ll discover what it’s like to be a lawyer, the work we do, how we do it and how we think. It’s a great way to learn if a career in law is right for you and it will give you the tools to make a successful application for a vacation scheme later on.

What will I be doing?

Each spring, we run two, two-day workshops at our London office. You’ll hear from leading lawyers, take part in interactive sessions covering subjects like Corporate Negotiation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, insights into our pro bono work and a careers fair. You’ll also shadow one of our current trainees and attend an evening social event. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have a good idea of what life at the firm is really like and whether you’re ready to take control of your career.

What we look for

You don’t need to study law to attend. In fact, we welcome students from a wide range of academic backgrounds. We’re looking for people with motivation for a career in law, strong academics and individuals with the potential to become exceptional lawyers.

Key dates

  • Workshop One: 3 – 4 April 2023
  • Workshop Two: 17 – 18 April 2023
  • Apply between: 1 – 31 January 2023 (open to first-year students and second-year students on a four-year course)

To apply, you’ll need to complete our online application form and blended online assessment. You don’t need to interview for a place on the workshop. If you’re offered a place on one of the workshops and decide to apply for a vacation scheme, you won’t need to retake the online assessment and we’ll fast track your application to review stage.

Applications open –  1 January 2023

FIND OUT MORE HERE


Current Opportunities

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